Saturday, December 9, 2023

Apex Court quashes criminal proceedings against former Tata Steel MD

Jamshedpur: The Supreme Court on Friday quashed the criminal complaint against the then Tata Steel Joint MD J J Irani in a 1989 fire incident at the main gate of the company in which 60 persons were killed.

A bench of justices S J Mukhopadhaya and S A Bobde held that the complaint is being barred by limitation as it was filed three months after the offence came to the knowledge of the factory inspector.

Section 106 of the Act says that no Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act unless complaint thereof is made within three months of the date on which the alleged commission of the offence came to the knowledge of Inspector.

The bench set aside the order of the Jharkhand High Court which allowed the prosecution in the case. It upheld the order of the chief judicial magistrate order which held that the case was barred by the Limitation Act.

It passed the order on a petition filed by Irani challenging the judgment and order of the High Court dated June 15, 2007 allowing the Criminal Revision filed by the State, and reversing the order dated June 29, 1990 of the CJM.

The incident occurred on March 3, 1989, when the company, formerly known as Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited (TISCO), celebrated the 150th birthday of J N Tata, as Foundation Day.

Temporary pandals were constructed at the main gate of the company. A sudden fire broke out and two of the pandals, where guests were seated, were gutted completely in it.

As a result, 18 to 20 persons died on the spot and many others were admitted with burn injuries at the Tata Hospital, some of whom later succumbed to their injuries.

The victims were mainly employees of TISCO, its officers and their family members.

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